06/11/21 Newsletter

An Artful Negroni

Today I am listening to the slow cooked music of Cat Power (Chan Marshall), specifically the album “Moon Pix” (1998).  Finger-picked electric guitar does have a certain Southern appeal to me.  THIS is a video from the album.

We have now returned home after spending a week in Toronto selling art and eating steak frites, oysters, octopus, french baguettes with butter, pickles and ham.  It really is not the worst job in the world.  Immersing yourself in where you are at that moment is a form of a holiday, even though you are there on business.  Breaking bread with my colleagues, Pierre, Wil, Yves, Stephen and Doug, who I only see once a year, was meaningful.

Our clients have a lot of choice with who to support, but also with what to buy.  These decisions must be difficult as I realize the angst of asking yourself: “am I getting the very best piece for a fair price”?  Sadly getting caught up in the possible investment can be an overwhelming experience for collectors.  My simple advice is: if you love it and you trust who you are dealing with, buy it, if you feel the value is appropriate.

Acquiring something that is of higher value is similar but different.  As they say, the top is crowded, whether purchasing art at auction or from a private dealer.  Buying from us is a much slower process as we have time to review the condition, provenance, pricing and provide a context.  This is a nice feature for new and also veteran collectors.  Sometimes the artwork that you covet is at auction and you need to understand how that system works.  “Buyer beware” is a great adage in the sense that you need to do the research before the auction.  Involving a dealer like myself in this process is not uncommon.  Knowledge is power and is the reason prices can triple a low estimate and make the news.

After spending 6 days in our Pop-Up booth last week, I began to look at a few key pieces in terms of contemporary historical Canadian art.  The jewels we exhibited by Aganetha Dyck, Jack Chambers, Greg Curnoe, Gathie Falk and Michael Snow meet that criteria for me.  Particularly the very rare Falk and Chambers, as both works are from the mid 1960’s, which were seminal moments of their now very well known careers.

In the coming decades these works will become more historical than contemporary and therefore will truly be accepted as important.  Visitors to museums see such artwork and understand their importance because it is placed within such a structure.  I think the most common story heard in our business is about “the one that got away”, usually because they felt that they couldn’t afford it at the time.  I, personally, can share my own similar stories.  Learning to pull the trigger and trust your eye is evolutionary perhaps.

In 1966, after a performance at the Trident in beautiful Sausalito CA, Chet Baker was attacked and cracked or lost a front tooth which ruined his embouchure.  He was unable to play the trumpet for the following 3 years.  Through a loan from a friend, he had dentures installed and moved to NYC and then Paris in the late 70’s.

This was one of his most productive periods, including creating the album titled “You Can’t Go Home Again” (1977).  A seemly gentle man who lead the hard life of a true jazz giant.

Gin sometimes goes with a hard life, but also a very satisfying life.  The Negroni cocktail is on trend if you can secure a bottle of Campari in Ontario.  HERE is the recipe.  Very simple to make with a touch of class, though I prefer it with less sweet vermouth and a dash of orange bitters.  Named after an Italian, Count Camillo Negroni, the cocktail was invented in 1919 in Florence.  After working as a rodeo clown in the American Wild West (!) he had picked up a taste for strong liquor and requested that the bartender create a stiffer riff on the Americano.  They replaced the soda water with gin and the Negroni was born.

With Chet singing/playing and after a slow Negroni, your take out dinner arrives from a local restaurant that you choose to support.  Enjoying dining out is still not for everyone and the idea of a TV dinner at home has come a long way.

LA Confidential (1997), is now available on Netflix.  Set in the corrupt Hollywood of the 1950’s, with a very strong young cast, this crime masterpiece is an enjoyable journey and an escape into La La land.  

Quote by Lady Diana Spencer:  

“They say it is better to be poor and happy than rich and miserable, but how about a compromise like moderately rich and just moody?”

Have fun, stay safe,

Michael Gibson



Recent Arrivals

Gathie Falk

The inspiration of water is a recurring theme for Vancouver artist Gathie Falk

From her monumental “Pieces of Water” paintings to this intimate papier-mache sculpture from 1997, she creates for us a slice of the water, a whimsical portrait of her then view out her window to English Bay. 


Michael Snow

This photographic triptych by Michael Snow represents a stage of artistic creation which is finalized through the act of taking a photograph.  The artwork, in this case, is not the drawing (or re-drawing), but the photographic triptych.  The addition of Snow’s hands reminds us that the artist is manipulating the image and reinforces his “hands on” approach.  Created in Newfoundland at the kitchen table overlooking the ocean, Snow questions what we think we are seeing with what we are actually seeing.

Keiran Brennan Hinton

Over the summer Keiran Brennan Hinton has continued his practice of painting intimate studies of plein-air observational paintings. He takes quiet moments that are often overlooked and focuses our attention on simple details like this lush “Wildflowers” painting. The paintings are an honest reflection of our surrounding world and our shared daily life.

Clark McDougall

We were recently contacted by someone in New Jersey who had inherited Clark McDougall paintings from his uncle in Buffalo.  To our surprise, the landscapes that he owned are rare, early 1949/50 paintings, fresh and lively as the day that Clark painted them. 


Michael Pszczonak Video & Opening Event

Saturday, November 13 from 2-4pm

Michael Pszczonak will be present in the gallery on Saturday, November 13 to celebrate with us his current exhibition “The Colour of a Window”.

For everyone’s safety and comfort, we will be scheduling timed entry to the gallery during the afternoon and limiting the capacity to 25 people.  Proof of vaccination and masks will be mandatory.


Connect With Us

Recent Facebook Post

An incredible day for Canada with the historic gift of a $100 million donation from the Audain Family Foundation to support the creation of a new Vancouver Art Gallery.  This is the largest single cash gift to an art gallery in Canadian history.  Find out more HERE.


Recent Twitter Post

These are the final days of Greg Curnoe’s “What About Me?”
@tapcreativityon. Don’t miss the opportunity to see this exciting collection of early works by Greg Curnoe before November 6!⁣  Book HERE.


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